Japan beat India in Uber Cup

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/G/Genericlandscape1.jpg' class='caption'> Indian women lose 2-3 against second seeds Japan in a Group A league encounter at the Uber Cup Asian Zone (preliminaries) badminton tournament.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:05 IST
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New Delhi:

The Indian women fought gallantly against second seeds Japan but went down 2-3 in a Group A league encounter at the Uber Cup Asian Zone (preliminaries) badminton tournament at Kuala Lumpur today. In the men's Thomas Cup league match India thrashed rank-outsiders Macau 5-0 to assure at least the second spot in Group A. But it was the Indian women who stole the limelight against the highly rated Japanese, who were expected to run through the Indians. Japan's decision to leave out World No. 10 Kanako Yonekura backfired badly in the very first rubber with national champion Aparna Popat upsetting Miho Tanaka 11-8, 7-11, 11-2 to put India 1-0 lead. Popat, ranked 24th, began superbly against her opponent ranked 10 places higher to win the first game with relative ease. The Indian, however, lost her footing in the second losing 7-11 but came back strongly in the third to take the match in 55 minutes. The lead gave India a big chance to cause a sensational upset as Japan were under pressure to win both the doubles matches and the second singles to win the tie. But despite a fighting performance by the top Indian doubles pair Jwala Gutta and Shruti Kurien, the 10th ranked Japanese Shizuka Yamamoto and Seiko Yamada won 15-7, 15-3 to level the match 1-1. World No. 16 Kaori Mori then put Japan ahead beating B R Meenakshi 11-9, 11-4 in the second singles. The favourites never looked back as Keiko Yoshitomi and Kumiko Ogura beat Fatima Nazneen and Manjusha Kanwar 15-4, 15-3 to give Japan an unbeatable 3-1 lead. But in the inconsequential fifth rubber Trupti Murgunde again dented the Japanese pride coming back from a game down to beat Yu Hirayama 4-11, 11-4, 13-10. The Indian eves now have to beat Hong Kong and Malaysia to keep their semifinal hopes alive. The top two from each group will progress to the last four to fight for three berths in the Uber Cup finals to be held in May. (PTI)

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